Fiction -> Published Short Stories | Novel

Short Story
From 'Inside Out'
(Read Review)

After lunch I ask my parents if I can stay with the young people, and they agree. We’re all Christians here after all, aren’t we? Peter is aware of my uninterestedness in the general proceedings. He leans over and whispers in my ear to meet him at the entrance to the toilets in five minutes. He knows I’ll be there. When we come together again he tells me he’s discovered a place where we can be alone, if I’d like that. What the hell, I think, and agree. Anything’s better than sitting listening to these old fogies. As we sneak behind the loudspeakers beside the stage, making sure no one sees us, a preacher starts to lead the whole congregation in prayer. He makes it up as he goes along, petitioning the Lord for all kinds of favours. We climb down under the stage, to a dark niche where nobody can find us, but we can hear everything that’s going on. Peter puts his arm around me and leans over and kisses me, like I knew he would. Why else was I here? We’ve kissed a few times before, but this feels more like the real thing. Our tongues swim around in each other’s mouths, then he presses his lips to my eyelids one after the other, then pecks the tip of my nose, then nibbles my earlobes, then back to my mouth. He starts to undo the buttons of my blouse, delicately and skilfully, and then feels my breasts, all perfume, first outside my bra, then he reaches back and undoes the strap, and drags his fingertips over my nipples. He’s done this before. But then, so have I. It’s better this time, though. Just then the preacher starts shouting about God loving the world and all His people, and how we must love Him back in return. I feel him stroking my thighs under my skirt, and I adjust my position so he can get at me more easily. I hear the crowd outside start to speak in tongues, and Peter stretches his hands up and slips his fingers inside the elastic of my knickers and slides them down my legs. Then he leans down and starts licking me down there, and it’s the first time I’ve had this and it feels so good. The preacher thanks the Lord for bestowing the gift of tongues. So do I.









Just as I’m beginning to come Peter stops, and so does the preacher, to be replaced by a new speaker, a pastor from a church in Alabama, who is going to talk on what is billed as ‘the most important social issue of our day’. What could that be? Peter surfaces for air and kisses my lips again, and produces a piece of rubber which he places over himself, and then I feel him slowly come inside me.
“Today, millions of innocent babies are sacrificed, by official sanction. It is done in the name of secular humanism’s causes celebre: ‘the right of a woman to her own body’, ‘every child should be wanted’, ‘the viability of the foetus’, or ‘the right to choose’.”
He keeps kissing my face, and moves in and out leisurely, and I pick up from where I left off before.
“Pro-abortionists play with words. Terms like ‘pre-viable embryo’, a classic example, are common now when abortionists are referring to unborn babies. Through semantics, they are attempting to dehumanise the tiny life. Common terms include ‘embryo’, ‘tissue’, ‘clump of cells’, ‘it’ and ‘product of conception’.”
This is better than my finger, better than other fingers, much much better than the boy at the beach.
“Such issues as pro-choice, right of a woman to her own body, viability, wantedness, etcetera, are man-made arenas of discussion. Each of these issues has been conceived in our culture’s God-ignoring, humanistic mindset, and then presented to us as if they were the proper points for the public debate. Let us deeply realise that these issues were not birthed from the Scriptures by those who revere the Word of God and who are committed to a ‘sanctity of life’ ethic. No, they were invented pure and simple by those who espouse secularism, by those whose underlying ethic is the utilitarian ‘quality of life’. But the fundamental Biblical issue in abortion is the shedding of innocent blood. The murder of these unborn babies is today’s Slaughter of the Holy Innocents. And it is time for God-fearing people of all religious backgrounds to call the debate exclusively to that, and insist it stay there.”
He’s making me feel wonderful, and it’s wonderful to know that he’s feeling it too.
“As to the right of a woman to her own body, the Word of God would emphasise that we are created in the image of God and that our life, our bodies, are gifts from Him. Our first consideration is not our rights; it is the responsible use and behaviour of our bodies. Such a responsibility is first concerned that our bodies bring glory to God. It’s a responsibility, for instance, that concerns itself with wholesome and beautiful attitudes toward sexual love. It accepts responsibility for God-given sexuality and fertility.”
I feel like screaming out with pleasure I’m getting so near to the moment, but I restrain myself in case someone hears me and we’re discovered.
“Look at television and the movies. Where is God’s hand in the programming and entertainment? Sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, adultery, and all of God’s prohibitions are flaunted and touted as socially acceptable on television and in films. Violence plays an important part in these media, violence bred of an existential mindset, another tentacle of secular humanism. What we see on our televisions and at the theatre are the reflections of those executives and artists in control of the majority of the visual media. It is a reflection of their anti-God, secular worldview, a view that holds that there is no God and no absolutes, only the self.”
I’m just there, it’s terrific, his name is Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, a church made up of sex and love.
“The prevailing idolatry of our age is secular humanism, and it contains all the elements of idolatry. As is usually the case, society confuses law with morality. Anything legal is assumed to be moral. This type of thinking is reasonable if there is no God, as secular humanists believe. Without God, man is the measure of all things, and man’s laws are his only moral determinants. But man is not truly the measure of all things. God is. And God’s laws are absolutes which cannot be legislated away.”
Yes I’m just there yes I’m there Yes.

First published in the anthology Phoenix: Irish Short Stories 1998, edited by David Marcus, published by Phoenix House.

‘Inside Out’, in the anthology Phoenix: Short Stories 1998

From ‘Mixing sex with death’ by James Urquhart, The Times, Thursday, July 30, 1998

But supremely entertaining is Desmond Traynor’s 'Inside Out', revisiting youthful disaffection with wry good humour. Milly and Peter, bored by the Royal Dublin Society Christina Convention that their parents have dragged them to, creep under the rostra and make passionate love, climaxing as the guest preacher bellows and snorts on the ills of abortion, promiscuity and that enemy within, feminism. The irony is there for the taking.

From ‘Encouraging the hardy annuals’ by Oonagh Shiel, The Irish Times, Saturday, August 8, 1998

'Inside Out', by Desmond Traynor, is a fine story exploring the transgressions of a young girl in a strict Christian community. He is expert at writing of her illicit joy even as the sermon of an American preacher is broadcast around the RDS. Not only does Traynor locate the girl’s nascent sexuality, but offers a searing critique of her religion and the effect of it on her family and, ultimately, on her mother, with her swelling, pregnant body.









Critical Writings
Travel Writings